Many on-call firefighters are in full time employment with local employers who are keen to support their community. They are just like any other employee, other than they may be on stand-by for some of their working hours. This means that they could be called out at any time of the day or night to protect local people.
Anyone wanting to become an on-call firefighter will need to get an agreement signed by their employer, even if they’re not intending to respond to incidents from work. This is because there can still be an impact on the employer, for example if the firefighter is called out in the night and hasn’t had any sleep.
Could you release an employee to become an on-call firefighter?
We know that releasing an employee to become an on-call firefighter is an important decision. It couldn’t happen without your agreement and you need to know how it would work for you so you can make an informed decision and feel confident about supporting your community in this way.
It may be the case that, as an employer, you have sufficient flexibility to enable staff to be released to attend emergency incidents when required. However, we do realise that some employers don’t have the capacity to commit to consistent hours for release of their staff. We would be happy to discuss the options available to support on-call firefighters in your employment; for example, flexibility to enable on-call firefighters to attend scheduled training.
Bringing you value
On-call firefighters are highly trained professionals who can bring added value to your organisation, at no cost to you. They gain many useful transferable skills which can be useful in any workplace. These can include:
- Personal skills, such as leadership, teamwork, quick thinking, using initiative, taking responsibility, communication skills and keeping calm in difficult situations. Being a firefighter also requires commitment and self-discipline.
- Emergency skills, including first aid, trauma care and incident ground safety, will assist your business on health & safety, medical and fire related matters. Our firefighters are trained on an on-going basis to maintain and develop these skills.
- Firefighters are encouraged to gain nationally recognised qualifications and to maintain up-to-date skills, appropriate to their role. These can benefit employers through better productivity levels and improved motivation.
- On-call firefighters tend to be committed to the community they serve, which means that they are more likely to be dedicated, caring and long serving members of staff.
- Employees able to fulfil their ambitions and potential are usually happier and more productive in the workplace. Firefighters must be highly motivated to take on the tasks, and this motivation will help them in everything they do.
- Firefighters must be able to deal with a whole range of situations. They never quite know what they might find when they respond to an emergency, so they are more likely to be able to cope with the ups and downs of working life.
- A large number of firefighters are trained to drive fire engines, which includes obtaining a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence. They also receive Emergency Response Driving training (ERD); this is similar to an advanced driving test in that it raises their awareness of road conditions.
Businesses have found that the benefits offered by allowing their staff to be on-call far outweigh any inconvenience caused by their employee responding to an emergency.
Because on-call firefighters aren’t based at fire stations but operate on standby, they’re only called out when needed. They are first and foremost your staff member, but are available on-call, to help and protect the local community when needed.
There are a range of businesses, both small and large, across the UK who currently release employees to be on-call firefighters. These include Sainsburys, Tesco, Royal Mail, schools, farms, small businesses such as accountancy and solicitors, as well county, district and town councils.
By allowing one of your employees to become an on-call firefighter, you’ll be making a difference every time they respond to an emergency, helping to save lives and protecting people in your community.